LEG. 500: LAW, ETHICS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Facebook Live Killings
Souheil Ben Mansour
As we all know, the phenomena of Facebook Inc. and how it became one of the largest social media platforms in the world is fascinating. Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has built a community that exceeds one billion active users and the number only keeps growing. The platform brings billions of people together from all over the world and will likely remain one of the most influential social media outlets.
The mission statement at Facebook is to “give people the power to build a community and bring the world closer together.” People use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, to discover what’s going on around the world, and to share what matters to them.
While Facebook remains a leading player in the market, many recent events have proved that Facebook must address and attend to pressing issues in order for them to keep their position in the global marketplace.
Facebook has come under fire for multiple reasons recently. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that started taking effect in Spring 2018 has increased regulations on how companies should protect EU citizens’ private information. A number of other regulations, primarily in the US and Europe, all aim to reach a heightened level of security when it comes to consumer personal data.
Another main challenge that Facebook is currently addressing is how customers use the Live Video feature. This feature allows users to stream personal video content live to the public. It was initially developed as a way for celebrities and brands to share content quickly to their large audiences however several far more disturbing events occurred. Several cases of suicide, murder and rape have gone Live on Facebook and caused viewers to experience severe shock and trauma after witnessing such horrific acts. According to Alyssa Newcomb’s article Cleveland Shooting Highlights Facebook’s Responsibility in Policing Depraved Videos states, “Anyone can report content to us if they think it goes against our standards, and it only takes one report for something to be reviewed,” Facebook’s community standards state. “One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything.”
Facebook’s response to these incidents has been positive, with their CEO stating, “I used to think that if we just gave people a voice and helped people connect, that would make the world a better place by itself. Now I believe we have a responsibility to do even more.”
I believe Facebook has an ethical obligation to help victims who are part of a crime that is captured on Live. Facebook do not condone any type of disruptive behaviors as its listed in their policies agreements. I believe that Facebook is being cooperating with the authorities and police enforcement when there is evidence of physical harm or threats to the community in general.
Facebook does assist in monitoring the outcome of a serious situation and this is where they come handy to help the authorities and police enforcement. Facebook is a HUB for new technologies and governmental agency should use any information in case of serious crimes.
In 2017 “Worldwide, there is a suicide attempt every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Among those aged 15-29 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death” with this rates Facebook did unveil new tools that provide support for suicidal people.
As Jeremy Littau mentioned in his article “Live-streaming crime, how will facebook live
challenge law”, “If the developers do not place restraints on use, and do not provide tools for the community of users to monitor content, then it’s likely we will continue to see them put to troubling uses such the teenager who live-streamed her suicide in France, or the young woman who live-streamed a friend being sexually assaulted earlier this year.”
Facebook and social media in general should invest in more features that will alert the platform of physical harm or unusual content. Face recognition can help recognize the criminal while also maintaining heightened security measures. Another way to monitor user activity is by reviewing the analytics of the platform. For example, setting up alerts when certain keywords are used in association with other words that would most likely be used when planning or committing a crime. This should also be applied to the comments section in any post. Furthermore, alerts should be set up to signal a high volume of reporting among users. For example, since all users have the ability to flag content they find inappropriate or offensive, an alert who’s rules say if 10+ people flag a post in less than a minute, then that post should immediately be reviewed for removal. This way the videos flagged the most in the shortest amount of time will be reviewed and removed first, hopefully leading to less disturbing content traumatizing people.
Third way id providing s department that can collaborate with the police enforcement in real time without make its long process because time matter in this kind of situation.
Role ethics have a crucial role in preventing crimes resulting from the use of Facebook’s platform. Facebook did make many mistakes starting with the data loss to using people data to influence elections but recently Mr Zuckerberg did change some of the main core of Facebook and he is trying to help users from harming themselves.
One of the the changes that Facebook should adopt in their platform, is giving discounted advertising for a non profit organizations throughout the world that support mental health and anti-discrimination and violence among others. Having Non profit providing support for people in difficulties will be very useful in the long turn.
A second changes should be creating a user score that will decreasing by using illicit language or uploading violent or anything that is harmful or unethical for other users.
Live-streaming crime: How will Facebook Live challenge privacy law? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www1.lehigh.edu/news/live-streaming-crime-how-will-facebook-live-challenge-privacy-law.
The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/06/02/the-3-biggest-challenges-facing-facebook.aspx.
This Is Facebook’s Biggest Challenge Heading Into 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2016/12/26/facebook-outlook-2017/
Facebook is rolling out AI-based suicide prevention effort. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2017/11/27/technology/facebook-ai-suicide-prevention/index.html.